Level of Medical Cover for Competitions
Harry McMillan www.peak-photo.co.uk
Events run in association with the equestrian sporting bodies are governed by their rules and regulations. These set out the required level of provision for medical and first aid services. There are links in this section to rules on medical cover for the British Horseracing Authority, British Eventing, The Pony Club and others. The medical guidance for British Riding Club competitions and qualifiers is contained within the Official Stewards and Organisers Handbook available from the British Horse Society BHS bookshop. The Pony Club First Aid Matrix demonstrates a scale of cover for different activities.
Equestrian sport also benefits from many ‘unaffiliated’ competitions. These include hunter trials, one day events and show jumping run by hunts, riding clubs and private establishments. The medical and first aid cover at these competitions can vary. This ought to reflect the risk assessment for the event rather than availability or affordability. The Pony Club matrix is a pragmatic approach to adapting first aid and medical cover according to circumstances which include the level of competition (reflecting height of jumps and speed) and the number of competitors.
However, at higher levels of cross country competition the Pony Club rules require an ambulance with Emergency Medical Technician and a paramedic or a doctor. This contrasts with British Eventing which requires both a paramedic and a doctor. Such differences in rules are explained in part by the administrative role of a doctor who is required to check medical cards and fallen riders many of whom will have more than one horse entered for the competition.
The MEA does not have a collective position on detailing what we believe to be safe levels of medical cover for unaffliliated competitions. We urge organisers to benchmark their provision against similar activities; for example team chasing might be considered in the same bracket of risk as point-to-point racing.